Sacred or Diabolical Theology

“Theology can be a coat of mail which crushes us and in which we freeze to death.

It can also be – this is in fact its purpose! – the conscience of the congregation of Christ, its compass and with it all a praise-song of ideas.

Which of the two it is depends upon the degree in which the listening and praying Christians stand behind this theological business.

As a Christian, as a listening and praying Christian, each must fight not to be crushed by theology and thus, instead of being a Christian soldier, becoming a corpse on the battlefield.

Sacred theology therefore is not a word to be taken lightly upon our lips.  Theology is a very human business, a craft, and sometimes an art.  In the last analysis it is always ambivalent.

It can be sacred theology or diabolical theology.  That depends upon the hands and hearts which further it.

But which of the two it is cannot necessarily be seen by the fact that in one case it is orthodox and in the other heretical.

I don’t believe that God is a fussy faultfinder in dealing with theological ideas.

He who provides forgiveness for a sinful life will also surely be a generous judge of theological reflections.

Even an orthodox theologian can be spiritually dead, while perhaps a heretic crawls on forbidden bypaths to the source of life.”

Helmut Thielicke, A Little Exercise for Young Theologians, p.36-37


Thielicke Quote


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